You often hear the term page-turner, but in the case of Anne Corbitt’s novel, Rules for Lying, the expression is dead on. The chapters are extremely short (sometimes only a couple of pages long) and rapidly draw the reader into the character’s experience. The structure has the effect of leaving the reader on a cliffhanger every single time the chapter ends.
The author explores the ambiguity of consensual sex verses rape. It’s a controversial subject yet done effectively. You can’t choose sides, which is interesting for a reader who naturally seeks an automatic protagonist and antagonist. If you want clear lines in the sand between good and bad or right and wrong, good luck here. I think that is the beauty of the novel. In the story, everyone agonizes over this accusation of rape. The crime of rape doesn’t limit itself to the two families involved, but causes a tornado of blame within a community. Perhaps, the antagonist is society. Surely, the novel is commenting on that.
I recently watched the documentary, Roll Red Roll!, which touches on the impact social media has on rape culture and victim blaming. It’s a worthy watch and is available on Netflix. I had already read and reviewed Corbitt’s novel on Good Reads, and decided to go back and review on my new blog, because I also wanted to recommend this documentary. Corbitt addresses some of the same issues addressed in this film. It’s an important topic for discussion and one I’d like to see our country get on top of better. Well, the rest of the world for that matter.
On a final note, the author subtly weaves music throughout her novel. Whether it’s a high school marching band or jazz at a seedy Atlanta bar, there is this constant musical thread that reminds us that we are all connected in the composition of life. The metaphor is that each character’s score has an accumulative effect on the main composition. They’re playing their parts. This sounds a little vague, but read the book and it will make sense!